Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Stavanger

Our final port of call was the city of Stavanger. Located on the southwestern corner of Norway the cruise ships are able to dock right in the city centre. 

We headed into the heart of the city centre with its cobble streets and well known shops. We then happened to stumble upon Øvre Holmegate. A quirky street, lined with bright coloured buildings, consisting mainly of bars and cafes. We decided to stop for a coffee at the colourful Hanekan. The weather was beautiful so we made the most of it and sat outside. 

We then took a steady walk back down towards the port taking advantage of the great view of the ship and found a pub with seats outside. 

The Hanson Hjørnet had a fabulous atmosphere but like most places in Norway the drinks were very expensive. 6 beers came to nearly £50. That being said as it was our last port of call we had another and got some nachos to share. 

Afterwards it was a quick stop for postcards and it was back to the ship for a swim. Another fabulous day was had. 

Cruising, First time Mum, Travel

Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Geiranger

On our third day we arrived in Geiranger which lies at the head of the Geirangerforden. Named as the best travel destination in Scandinavia by Lonely Planet, the Geirangerfjord area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

We exited the ship and into Geiranger via the long gangway which zigzagged from the Eclipse to the port side. The little ones quickly fell asleep for their naps as we took a wonder through the small village of only a few shops, cafes and a supermarket. 

We were heading for the waterfall walk; 327 steps going close to the Storfossen (waterfall). The waterfall walk runs from Geiranger Centre up to the Norwegian Fjord Centre and hotel Union with fantastic views along the whole route. 
We took it in turns to go up so there was someone to stay with the babies (definitely not a walk for small children). 

We then went back into the village and found a local cafe/bar to enjoy a drink. Lee had a beer and I had a delicious hot chocolate. As it was another nice day it was then back on to the ship to enjoy the sunshine. 

Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

Norwegian Fjords Cruise – Bergen

What a fantastic cruise we have had on board the Celebrity Eclipse. Over the next week or so I will be posting about our adventures around the Norwegian Fjords and on board the ship. 

Our first port of call was Bergen, a city on Norway’s southwestern coast. Here we had an excursion booked to take us to a waterfall and a local fruit farm. We took the  1 and half hour journey by coach (car seats were provided for Samuel and his 21 month old cousin Henry), along the Hardanger Fjord and through the snow covered mountains. It was such a lovely day in Bergen we were not expecting to drive through snow and see frozen lakes. 

We arrived at the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall. A stunning waterfall that you can walk under without getting wet. Samuel loved this and was mesmerised by the falling water. 

There was a little gift shop and cafe here with spectacular views of the waterfall. 

A short drive back on the bus took us to Steinstø Fruit Farm where we were greeted by the owners. A family run business for 8 generations. We sampled their delicious apple pie, served in the restaurant, and tasted the sweet apple juice whilst the owner told us all about her life growing up and working on the farm. 

Afterwards her husband (who is also a local policeman) took us on a short tour of the orchard. The views were amazing and we could really see the appeal of living and working in such a beautiful place. 

A quick look in the shop before heading back on the bus for the journey back to the ship. Our tour guide was fantastic and shared her knowledge of the local area as well as folk tales about trolls as we drove through the mountain tunnels. We were so glad that we had took the trip as we got to see things we wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Baby products, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

Primark Baby Boy Haul

We are going away in a few weeks time and I just know Samuel will be in the next size up of clothing. His 6-9 months are already starting to look a bit snug. So, on Saturday, Lee and I hit Primark and picked up lots of bargains for Samuel. 

Firstly we got these swim suits. The shark top came with the shorts and hat and has a UPF 50+. It cost £7. We also picked up a pack of 2 swim shorts for £4.

This was a set of 2 long sleeve t-shirts and were just £4. I love Samuel in red so really liked the ‘Epic’ one. 

What little boy doesn’t look gorgeous in a polo shirt. These will look fab with shorts, jeans or chinos and were just £2.50 each. 

I love these shirts and couldn’t resist either. The denim one was £5 and the floral one was £4. I just know Samuel will be able to carry off a flower print. Lol. 

We picked up 2 pairs of trousers as we had already got some from elsewhere. These jeans are really soft to the touch and were £6. The chinos were £5 and I liked that they were a different colour to what Samuel usually wears. Although the way he moves around on the floor they won’t stay this colour for long. 

This jumper was £5 and just so soft. Plus I can never resist grey. 

Both sets of 3 sleepsuits were £6.50 and I loved how they have grippy feet. Perfect for Samuel who always wants to be stood up. 

We also picked up these 2 packs of vests. The white ones were £2.30 and the blue £2.80. I actually picked up the blue ones by mistake. I am not a fan of sleeveless vests and I am still debating whether to take them back or save them for the warmer days. 

So there we go. Virtually a whole new wardrobe for £63.10. 

Baby products, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent, Sleep, Travel, Weaning

Our top 10 essential baby items 0-6 months

Here our our top 10 items for the first 6 months of having a baby and why they are our favourites:

  1. Bright Starts Roaming Safari Activity Gym
  2. SnuzPod Bedside Crib 3 in 1
  3. Mamas & Papas Morph Baby Carrier
  4. Breastfeeding Nursing Cover – boned
  5. Gro-egg Room Thermometer 
  6. Cybex Sirona Car Seat
  7. Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine
  8. Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support
  9. Mamas & Papas Baby Snug and Activity Tray
  10. Taf Toys Clip on Pram Book

Bright Starts Roaming Safari Activity Gym                                                          Samuel was just 3 days old when he first used his baby gym and he was mesmerised. It quickly became a favourite, with Grandparents buying baby gyms to keep at their houses. This one easily folds up and is a good size. We even took ours on holiday with us to the lakes!

SnuzPod Bedside Crib 3 in 1             Keeping Samuel close has always been important to us and the SnuzPod allowed us to do this safely. It attached to the side of our bed meaning I could just roll over and place Samuel in and out with ease.  I could lay next to him without the worry of rolling on to him. My only wish is that it lasted longer but Samuel was definitely too big for it by 6 months. I have big plans for it in the playroom though.

Mamas & Papas Morph Baby Carrier  Lee went into Mamas & Papas to test out the baby carriers before deciding upon this one. Samuel absolutely loves it and I have been known to wear it round the house just to get jobs done. Samuel especially loves it now he is forward facing. He is such a nosey boy and this allows him to people watch with ease. 

Breastfeeding Nursing Cover                     In the first few months of breastfeeding this was a lifesaver. As a first time mum it allowed me to build my confidence in feeding Samuel when we were out and about. We very rarely use it now as Samuel likes to see what is going off around him but it was a definite must at the start. 

Gro-Egg Room Thermometer                      As Samuel was a Summer born baby this was so useful in ensuring the room was the right temperature or that Samuel was dressed appropriately for bed (see chart below). Lee did become a bit obsessed with it though lol. 

Cybex Sirona Car Seat                                 We read so much about not leaving babies in car seats for long periods of time so decided not to get one that you could lift in and out. It meant that Samuel got used to being transferred into his pushchair or cot without waking and we actually got some use out of the carry cot attachment. The Cybex appealed to us as it will last till he is 4 and can be rear facing for longer than most. It has a 360* swivel which makes getting Samuel in and out a whole lot easier and is of course Isofix. 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine These have had a bad reputation at the moment with some discovering mould inside. I checked mine and it was perfectly clean as were all my friends that also use them. It really does make life simpler when making up a bottle. There is no waiting around for a kettle to boil. No waiting for the milk to cool down. It is instantly at the correct temperature for baby to drink. I mainly breastfeed but when I do give Samuel a bottle this has been one of the most useful gadgets. 

Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support       We got this as a transition from the baby bath although it could have been used from birth. Instantly Samuel loved this. It must be super comfortable as he happily lays there or sits on the end. It enables whoever is bathing Samuel to have both hands free and without the fear of Samuel slipping. Again another item we took on holiday with us.

Mamas & Papas Baby Snug and Activity Tray                                                                 This is a different version of the Bumbo. We liked how this came with a tray and a removable insert. Samuel used this from 4 months and it really helped with his sitting. It also helped me get some jobs done as I could easily move it round the house and Samuel would sit and watch me. The activity tray kept him occupied whilst we ate tea and it could easily be transported to Grandparents houses to be used as a high chair. Samuel still happily sits in in now and my 20 month old nephew still likes to sit in his.

Taf Toys Clip on Pram Book                      We got this quite early on to give Samuel something to look at in his carry cot. It quickly became a favourite and was really useful to use during tummy time as well. We liked how one side had the black and white images for stimulating baby early on. We bought one for our friends new baby as Samuel loved it so much. 

What are your top baby products? 

      First time Mum, Travel

      The Deep 🦈

      Today we visited The Deep in Hull. We pre-booked our tickets online which saved us £1.25 each and Samuel was free as he is under 3. When we arrived we assumed that as we had already got our tickets we would be able to go straight in or at least join a different queue however there was only one line for everyone. It went down quickly and when we reached the counter we realised that it was so we could have our picture taken for the tickets that then get you into The Deep free for the next year. 

      We decided against taking the pushchair, knowing it would be busy, and used the carrier instead. We have the Mamas & Papas Morph and Samuel absolutely loves it. As soon as we put him in it his little arms and legs start going and his face lights up. 

      We headed to the cafe first as Samuel wanted a feed. The Deep state that they are ‘breastfeeding friendly’. Does anyone else think that is such an odd thing to say? Thankfully I have never had any issues where ever I have fed but I do know people who have. It always amuses me that such a natural thing can evoke such reactions in people. Anyway that conversation is for another day. Lee decided he was hungry too so had a full English to ‘keep him going’. 

      When we were all fed and watered we headed into the attraction, starting off in The Awakening Seas exhibit. Here you explore the history of the ocean. It’s more about fossils and interactive exhibits rather than real fish at this point. Samuel and Daddy liked the 3D screens where it looked as if turtles and prehistoric creatures were coming out at you. 

      Next we went through into the Lagoon of Light. This exhibit was undergoing renovation so wasn’t open yet. Looking at what was there though I think it’s going to be beautiful. A man gave a talk about the project and explained that the windows in the exhibits were not screwed into place only sealed and the pressure of the water is what makes them secure. Scary!

      The Penguins were next and we arrived just in time to see them being fed. I love penguins. I find them so comical. I love how clumsy they are on land but are then so gracefully in the water. 

      Lee’s favourites the Sawfish were up next in the Endless Ocean tank. Here were a whole host of fish, sharks and rays. This exhibit is so large it is visible from quite a few points. 

      We then walked past the slime exhibit finding Nemo on our way!

      Before having lunch we went into the dark Cool Seas section. Here we saw creatures that like the deep, cold waters. Samuel enjoyed looking at all the lights that lit up the area.

      We had lunch in the dedicated picnic area. I liked how they also had a small cafe here so you could get a hot drink or extra snacks. 

      After we had eaten we walked through the ‘Kingdom of Ice’. Here we felt the ice and came upon the penguins once again, getting to see them under water this time. 

      We headed round and came to the area displaying creatures that are found around the rivers of the world. One of my favourite exhibits here were the ants that were carrying little paper hearts from one tank to the next. There was a young children’s play area in this section too. 

      The Underwater viewing tunnel then gave us chance to see the creatures in the Endless Ocean tank close up. I love the little faces on the rays and seeing the sharks swim over our heads. 

      The Endless Ocean lift took us back up to where we began with even more closeup views of those Sawfish. 

      A lovely day out that Samuel absolutely loved. He stayed awake the whole time only giving in to sleep as we pulled out of the car park. I think we will definitely make the most of our years free pass!


      Lovely Lisbon

      Lisbon was truly a plesent surprise! One of those places you hear about but not give too much thought about visiting. 

      The Britannia docked between the city centre and the Vasco da gama bridge (a stunning piece of engineering that the ship actually passed under).  

      A short walk to the city centre and we joined the short queue for the Santa Justa lift. Unfortunately at this time it decided to have technical difficulties. However is was a perfect time for a break and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of sampling Lisbons local specialty of a egg custard tart. A local cafe where we sat outside offered us the perfect people watching spot to do just that.  

      They are delicious and I would definitely recommend.

      Now refuelled we wondered around the lovely squares and streets and took in what we could on our one day stop. We passed the now working Santa Justa lift and decided to go ahead with our original plan and head up. Stunning views across the city awaited us and we were so glad we decided to give it another try.  

      We enjoyed a nice cool beer in the bar at the top and had some lunch on our walk back down to the centre. A leisurely walk back to the ship was a lovely end to a lovely day. I fully enjoyed Lisbon and look forward to visiting again for maybe a long weekend this time.